tv [untitled] August 27, 2013 8:30am-9:01am PDT
good afternoon. my name is alvin [speaker not understood]. i have a couple questions for the two auditors. first one is regarding the redevelopment agency being closed, is it your judgment that the turmoil caused by the closure of the agency and the transition to a new body created a lot of problems in the sense that there wasn't a proper transition period? >> so, this is public comment, sir. you have two minutes to state your question. this is not an opportunity for a forum for them to rebuttal or answer your questions. so, what can happen is after we move this item -- i'll make my own point. from what i see from the rda got shut down, from their
testimony, turmoil was created in terms of transition. they couldn't keep track of -- they lost staff. they lost continuity, okay. that's one thing i see. the other thing -- and i guess they can't answer it -- is regarding some of the deficiencies that were found in terms of mta, in terms of the new pension standards. i believe they were given -- being given about two years to resolve that problem, not three quarters to one year, okay. so, there's a time element involved in terms of -- in terms of correcting the deficiencies. finally, mta has some compliance problems that i heard the item specifics, but would have warranted shutting
down mta. that's all. >> thank you for your comment. are there any other members of the public that would like to comment on item number 3? okay, seeing none, public comment for item number 3 is closed. [gavel] >> may i entertain a motion to file this to the call of the chair? thank you, motion made by supervisor tang, seconded by supervisor campos. this motion is filed to the call of the chair. [gavel] >> madam clerk, could you please call item number 4? >> item number 4, hearing to address and assess the loss of credit asian of the city college of san francisco. >> okay, thank you very much. today we also have joining with us ~ supervisor avalos who will begin to steer the conversation for this item. ~ accreditation supervisor avalos, would you like to offer opening remarks? >> yes. yes, i would. thank you very much, chair cohen. and thank you for co-sponsoring this hearing along with supervisor campos as well. >> thank you.
>> this is an emergency hearing that we've called, really to address big concerns in san francisco about potential closing of city college. we have heard members of the board of supervisors, while we don't have direct jurisdiction over city college, we under just how important city college is to san francisco for so many reasons. we have our work force programs train thousands of people to be prepared for our local aloe economy. in a way, city college serve as an economic engine for the city to help prepare the work force for that. there are many people who use city college to prepare for four-year institutions and allow youth of color, especially [speaker not understood] is an institution where they can actually go on to four-year institutions and city college plays a vital role for that. we have a great deal of
vocational training that goes on that -- >> excuse me. ladies and gentlemen, as you come into the committee room, we're trying to handle business here. if you could please come in quietly. and if you do not have a seat, i will have to ask you to go back to the overflow room. supervisor avalos, please continue. >> thank you very much. there is a great deal of vocational training [speaker not understood] that city college is involved in. we have a very high immigrant population in san francisco and many people in the immigrant community are learning english as a second language so they can actually have a better fit to work in our local economy and city college provides support for them as well. we have campuses all over san francisco touching many, many neighborhoods, touching all of our communities in this city. district 11 where i serve on the board of supervisors is right across the street from the main campus of city college
and has a strong connection to neighbors and residents throughout the district. and it's a vital institution that we want to be able to protect. through the purpose of this hearing -- excuse me, it's getting hard to concentrate with a lot of talking in the background. so, the purpose of this hearing is really probably for me is to educate myself, other elected officials on how important city college is, to hear -- have a place where people can voice concerns about what's happening with city college as well as to hear what public officials are doing to protect city college. we have representatives from our state level of government and local level of government. i know that our assembly has taken steps and actions to support city college as well as the mayor's office has done so
-- is doing so as well, as well involved with the trustee to make sure that city college is able to stay together and keep accreditation. just a couple weeks ago, while it wasn't a big splash, we did ask the question of the mayor at question time separate from our typical way, we ask questions of the mayor. it was more on the spot question to ask what the mayor is doing to support city college at our community -- who are reliant on city college. he poke at that. if we can get an update from the mayor's office as well what the mayor's office is doing. ~ spoke at that there have been questions about the accrediting commission, and the role the accrediting commission ha played. [speaker not understood] are here to discuss that. ~ has played i think that is a strategy the city needs to take on about whether we should question the crediting commission and the recommendations and [speaker not understood]. we'll probably hear from both sides from that question. there are people who have been
involved in struggles for city college for years and trying to make city college legitimate institution. at times, the changes that are being forced, it is important to be accredited and opening and make the change people want to see. we'll be hearing from people talking about that today as well. there are great concerns -- i'm sorry, the murmuring in the room is really distracting. if we can keep our voices down, close the door, i would appreciate it. is the door open? if we can close the door, i would really appreciate it. it's really distracting. thank you very much. there are great concerns that people have that the city college could be a track towards downsizing, [speaker not understood] programs and possible privatization, setting up public assets. i think there is a -- those are really great concerns. especially when we see on the national level that happens in educational institutions around
the country. we've seen great changes in chicago that are -- actually was the home base of [speaker not understood] duncan who is our education -- the commissioner of our education, secretary for the obama administration. we'll hear concerns about that as well. there are cautions on all sides we need to take. most of all what unites people together, we want to see city college maintain accreditation. it would be unacceptable for city college to close. it would be unacceptable for our enrollment which has been 85,000 students, to be turned over to $40,000 students. that cannot happen. ~ there are so many communities that rely on robust college and we want to make sure we have a pathway to keeping it going. the pathway needs to include, while there are vast differences about what city college should do and how we should support city college, there needs to be some unity about how we can get on the same page to protect it and create the kind of change that
people want to see at the same time. and, so, i would like to see -- i expect that this hearing could be one in a series, perhaps of my colleagues on the board may decide they want to hone in on a particular subject and we could have a special hearing on that. but i think that given that the board of trustees has been suspended, that there is a role that i believe the board of supervisors can play to provide a public space and venue for people to express concern and make recommendations on public officials, especially when the mayor's office is involved as well, that we can support the mayor's efforts with those recommendations coming forward. so, my colleagues have other comments they want to make in introduction, we can do them before calling some of our speakers. >> thank you very much, supervisor avalos. supervisor campos. >> thank you, madam chair. thank you, supervisor avalos, for your leadership in calling for this hearing. i'm proud to be a co-sponsor of ti want to thank all the
members of the community who are here, not only the students, but i see many of the faculty. i see our teachers union here. let me just say this. i don't know that anyone disputes the importance of making sure that city college has its financial house in order. the problem that i have is that i don't think that having your financial house in order means that you actually lose the character of this institution. san francisco and our city government is a perfect example of that, has a long history of being able to respect and adhere to the values that we have as a city and still have a government that is fiscally and financially responsible. the concern that i have and where i hope that we get to a point where the entire elected city family is on the same page is that some people are talking
about having this financial house in order, but saying that that means that you have to lose all these programs, you have to lose the identity of this program -- of this entity. and if that is the position of what it means to be financially responsible, then i do think we're going to have a problem. there are things that have to remain -- (applause) >> and that's what i want to be clear about, that we cannot save city college if saving city college means having a city college that no longer looks like what city college has been. so, supervisor avalos talked about the language programs. it's the adult education classes, the job training programs, the work force development initiatives. it's the second chance programs for formerly incarcerated youth. it is the bet van center that
helps so many vets not only get training, get jobs. it's the guardian scholars programs that serves former foster care students with academic and nonacademic support. it's the programs addressing senior help. it's helping students transfer to four-year colleges. it's preserving lower cost higher education can which is -- city college is the only way that so many low-income folks can go to college. it's maintaining the special community-based campuses like mission campus in my district that serves 8500 students, 70% of whom are immigrants. i do think that we need to continue these hearings and i will end with this, that my hope and what i would like to do as the district 9 supervisor is at the next hearing that we have -- and we intend to have that -- will be on the site of mission campus so that we can hear directly from the community and go to that
community. (applause) >> because what i'd like to have a conversation about is what is it that city college does for this community that we frankly don't fully realize the extent of the benefits of this institution provides so that we have a better understanding of what it is we're saving. >> thank you very much. supervisor mar. >> thank you. i wanted to thank supervisor avalos, but also supervisor cohen for bringing this forward and supervisor campos. in april many of you were before the board of supervisors as we struggled through a resolution that was eventually passed unanimously by this body to fully support city college and to do much more the city are [speaker not understood] support the quality and diversity of the school's education. as supervisor campos mentioned, it's not just any city college, it's our city college that's been developed through years of struggle and involvement of the community's -- from everything
from our work force programs to english as a second language and other programs that supervisor avalos mentioned. also wanted to say that high the mayor's education advisor e-mailed us a memo on tuesday. i'm hoping she can address pulling more of the city family together to do as much as we can. i think there are a lot of questions that came up in different rallies to save city college from the grassroots community based efforts asking where is mayor lee on the issue ~ and hopefully ms. mendoza can address some of those questions how we all work together not just for all city college, but our city college programs that have been developed over the years by faculty, staff, community and students. also there is a question of what's the economic impact if we had -- if we were to lose city college as the acc, jc recommended, what would be the huge loss to work force development programs and the economic base of our city or pulling in workers from outside
versus pulling up people from our communities and educating them and preparing them for a work force for today. so, i guess those are some questions, working with others to make sure we have a budget and legislative report on those impacts. and hopefully with all the different tools and working together we can do our best to even improve city college to make it more relevant and empowering to the residents that depend on it every day. as we built the safe city college coalition and campaign over the past year, i think the slogan that i'm city college resonates with me. every one of us has -- if not we ourselves, have been students, we have family members and others that depend on this critical institution. so, i'm really please that had we'll have many people testifying on this today. (applause) >> thank you. thank you, colleagues. i appreciate your comments and support. first speaker up will be gohar
[speaker not understood] with the accreditation liaison officer at city college to provide an update. thank you. >> hello, i'm gohar [speaker not understood], the accreditation liaison officer at city college of san francisco. my job is to work on behalf of the chancellor to work with the accrediting commission, to meet the accreditation standards, to help conduct the internal self-evaluation, and again, to make sure we meet the standards. before i start, i want to make sure that it's clear we are open. we are accredited and we're enrolling students. in case anybody is reading the headline there, we have not lost accreditation. we're open. we're accredited and we're enrolling students. before i start, i want to give you a few facts about the accrediting commission and then we'll pass around a flyer so that you've got some of that information before you. accreditation is a voluntary process, a quality review that institutions agree to undergo periodically. it's a system of self-regulation.
accreditation standards represent the best practices in higher education, their six geographic regions in the united states. the accrediting commission for community and junior colleges is part of the western association of schools and colleges. they are authorized to operate by the u.s. department of education. accreditation review is conducted in four phases. the process involves internal self-evaluation, external evaluation by professional peers, commission evaluation, and institutional self-improvement to meet your goals. the accreditation standards describe best practices in institutional operations. this encompasses everything about an institution. your mission, your effectiveness, instruction, support services, facilities, library learning resources, human resources, financial operations, facilities,
physical resources, technology resources, fiscal management, governance, and decision making. >> can i pause you for just a sec? [speaker not understood] your next statement, but the accreditation standards, where are those set? >> those are set in the accreditation reference handbook. again, it's a peer process. so, the standards also go through an evaluation process where they can make changes to those standards. they're general statements of what an institution needs to have. the commission and the standards do not dictate how to meet that standard. so, most general statements might be that your budgeting systems are integrated with your planning systems. they don't specify exactly how you do that. the institution needs to do that itself. it might state -- the standard will state the institution must have a mission statement that's regularly reviewed by using this governance processes and evaluated on a regular basis.
>> so, this is a state set standard or is it the acc/jc set standard? >> there is the accreditation community that the board of junior colleges. the larger organization is the western association of schools and colleges. so, there is the commission for the senior colleges and universities. there is the commission that deals with elementary, middle school, and high schools. and this is the one for junior and community colleges. >> so, as far as like our department of education for the state of california, that doesn't have necessarily a role that is played in terms of how standards are set -- [multiple voices] >> there needs to be alignment, of course, with whatever the federal regulations are, state regulations. >> so, is that for the acc/jc role of accountability with -- directly with state or federal level?
>> they are reviewed by the u.s. department of education and there's another body called the council higher education -- council of higher education of accreditation. it's called chia. >> thank you. >> and i can send more formal information on that as well. the commissioners of the accrediting commission are faculty members from other institutions. there are 19 commissioners. there are some that represents -- there are three members that represent public interests. there are administrators, some other member institutions, and then people representing other educational entities. they go through a nomination process and it's the chief executive officer, the chancellors and presidents who elect the commissioners. and, again, it's a peer review process. the commission is basically servicing all of its member institutions in this peer review process. evaluation teams are also
composed of faculty members, administrators, even trustees of other institutions when they come to evaluate an institution. i need to make clear also the accreditation standards need to be met at all times. so, it's not like you go through a review process, check mark, great job, and then you stop what you're doing and you get ready for the next evaluation. you need to be in compliance at all times. those are the basics of the commission. and again, i'll give you more information on that. to provide you just an overall update of where we are at this point, on july 3, 2013, the accrediting commission for community and junior colleges acc/jc, they announced their decision to terminate accreditation effective july 31, 2014. the decision is not final. it's not a final decision. city college remains open, accredited. we are pursuing a review and appeal process. they have procedures and
processes and we will be following those by laws and policies to pursue the review and appeal process. that will take a long time. and as long as we're undergoing the review and appeal process, the college still remains open, accredited, enrolling students. >> when you say a long time, what does that mean? >> you have to read the policy. it could take up to a year. i don't know. it depends how long each process takes. there is a review process. if they uphold the determination that we're terminated, then we go into the appeal process. and we're going to be pursuing that process. >> so, the action of the trustee agrila is within the context of review and appeal process or agrila is actually working toward another pathway to maintain accreditation that
i read in the paper he's calling on hopefully we'll make progress, and then the spring of next year is going to call on another review to see if -- by the acc/jc to see if there is going to be ability to maintain accreditation and keep the school open? that's what i read. >> so, my understanding is that the state chancellor appointed the special trustee, dr. robert agrela as our special trustee, and it's really just to expedite decision-making process. to be accredited, we still need to make significant changes to meet the accreditation standards. we made significant progress in the last year. we still do not meet the accreditation standards, even though we went from, let's say point c to point b, and amazing work was achieved by our faculty and changes in administration and operations. to move from point b to point a, that work still needs to be accomplished and it needs to be
accomplished as quickly as possible so that we meet the accreditation standards. and that's what we are all focused on, is meeting the accreditation standards as quickly as possible while we pursue the review and appeal process so that they can reconsider their decision. our focus right now is very much -- >> so, there is a review and appeal process going on and there is also the work that the trustee is doing to hopefully maintain accreditation. >> with the college. i mean, it's not just -- he's helping to expedite the decision-making processes, but it's really the college pulling together to implement the action plan that we set forth to meet the accreditation standards. >> and, so, is the trustee supporting the review and appeal process? he's working under that rubric? >> yes. the special fruit trustee is
working closely with the state chancellor's office, working with our chancellor ~ -- he's going to be meeting with various folks and sending out messages and really supporting the process to meet the accreditation standards. it's whatever we need to do so that we can say we've achieved the standards. >> okay. >> i believe supervisor campos has a question. >> thank you, madam chair. so, who decides whether or not the accreditation standards have been met? >> the commission makes the final determination. they take a look at the entire history of the institution. they review the team evaluating report, the visiting team that came, the report that they prepared. they take into consideration the testimony that the chancellor, the special trustee and myself provided to the commission. we sort of plead our case of the changes that we've made.
and they take a look at our show-cause report that we prepared, which was a self-evaluation of how -- how well we're doing to meet the standard, where we fall short, and what our plans are to meet the standards. and the commission makes its decision. >> and what standards does the commission follow in making that decision? >> i can't answer that question. the original standards of accreditation, if you read them and you look at where the college is, it's very clear if we've met it or not, yes or no. when you read our report, significant changes were made, but perhaps not completed. so, for example, the mission statement, we fell short a year ago and the standard reads something to the effect that the institution will review its mission statement, governance process and review it on a regular basis. we had not reviewed our mission statement in more than four years or something like that. so, last year we did a review.
we made some changes to the mission statement, but we did not put in processes in place to conduct the regular review. we changed the policy that said that the board of trustees will conduct an annual review. we put in some other action plans to meet the mission. we need to go through that review process again. >> i guess what i don't understand is that if the elected board rightly decided, you know what, we're going to follow the advice of the team that has been working here for the last year and let them do whatever they say that we need to do to, to, you know, not lose our accreditation, they did that. you guys have been there saying, do this, do that, but then it turns out that whatever that team was saying to them, was that enough? i mean, what do you do then? where is the accountability in that case? >> i'm not understanding your question, i'm sorry. >> that's the problem. [laughter] >> that's the problem that i
think that there is a disconnect between what these folks are doing and what's actually happening on the ground. where is the accountability by the acc/jc, who is it accountable to? >> they're accountable to the u.s. department of education. >> and -- >> and again, it's a peer. it is not a private organization. they're elected members. they are representing all the institutions in california. >> so, you know, i've heard that they get some funding from some foundations. do you know whether or not that's the case? >> i don't. >> do you think that would be relevant to know how objective they are? >> my job is to focus on meeting the accreditation standards so that we retain our education and this institution. i know everybody here in the room understands the vital importance that it has for the city and community.
and accreditation is the public assurance that we meet a standard that all institutions are held to. and that is our goal. that's my goal and role. and, again, vice harris came and he spoke to the leadership of our institution. he spoke with -- it was a group meeting. it included academic senate leadership, classified senate leadership, afp 21 21, aeiu [speaker not understood], department chair, and he made it clear that what the college needs to do to keep its accreditation is to continue the work and continue the momentum to meet the accreditation standards. and that -- he gave a great analogy. you're in the middle of a game and the game has an end timeline. you cannot stop to argue about the rules of the game and use
city college as collateral. do that outside. right now everybody needs to work together to meet the accreditation standards. so that the commission will reconsider its decision. the clock is ticking, and that's what we've got to do. >> the problem with that analogy is that the game is not a fair game if the referee has their own agenda -- (applause) [cheering and applauding] >> and is -- has already decided which team should win. that's the problem here. (applause) >> all right. would you like to continue with the presentation? >> that's pretty much where we're at. we're focusing on our action plan, continuing to make changes in the institution, and trying to get the word out that we're open, we're accredited, and we're enrolling students.